Update - September 8, 10:22 a.m.
On Friday morning, PARC moved forward with removing two median trees and one boulevard tree on Johnston Road following the receipt of the Tree Management Permit. Safety is our top concern, and it was evident that equipment access from alternative locations was logistically unrealistic and that construction activity in close proximity to trees is unsafe.
The tree on the Johnston Road boulevard may have appeared to be in fair/ good condition from above ground, but girdling of the roots was visible at the base of the tree. The method of planting and site preparation done decades ago has contributed to trees with poor root structure, significant soil heaving and damage to infrastructure. This has caused buckling of the sidewalks, creating tripping hazards. This is especially dangerous for those most at risk, such as those with mobility constraints and those who use wheelchairs and electric scooters as transportation.
The City’s Johnston Road Streetscape Revitalization project has been ongoing since 2013, and will add a substantial amount of trees and vegetation to Johnston Road. These trees will be planted with soil cells which will allow the trees to thrive for many decades.
Public consultation in 2016 for the Johnston Road Streetscape Revitalization project included an Open House, public workshop, community survey, and business consultation.
It is anticipated that the detailed design for the Johnston Road project will be completed in the Fall of 2017, and this will include details about new sidewalks, rain gardens and new tree plantings, as well as information on existing trees.
Thursday, September 7, 10:45 a.m.
Over the past few days, some people have gathered on Johnston Road in opposition to an expected tree removal. We recognize that this is an emotional situation for some residents.
It is anticipated that PARC, a developer building a retirement living complex on Johnston Road, will be submitting a Tree Management Permit application for the removal of two trees from the centre median, and one from the sidewalk on Johnston Road. This is in order to allow safe temporary access to the west side of the PARC construction site and mitigate traffic disruptions. It is expected that the centre median and some curbs on the north end of Johnston Road will also be removed within this scope of work. This is in keeping with the Council approved concept design for the Johnston Road Streetscape Revitalization Plan. It is a standard practice for the City to process these applications and work with developers to find the best solution.
Safety is our primary concern. The City is committed to upholding and improving safety in White Rock for our residents and visitors.
The City is working with PARC and Ventana, the construction company working on the project, with a focus on retaining as many trees as possible and achieving a safe working environment.
This is an ongoing situation and we will provide updates when possible.